PAWTUCKET, RI (WPRI) - At New City in Pawtucket, the shelves are always almost bare but the bottom line at this 'free store' has nothing to do with profit.
Suzan Brito, 1 of 4 people who created New City, has a business plan that involves giving away every thing.
"Is there stuff in the back that we can put on this table," Brito asks one of her many volunteers, as she darts around the store on Ann Mary Street.
Brito opened New City 6 months ago in collaboration with the Visiting Angels Ministry which has a chapel in the back half of the store front.
"People can't believe it's free," Brito says. "People think there's a method to my madness. And there's really not."
Brito says customers from Foxboro to Newport shop there for every thing from baby food to clothes.
"And books and bagged lunches," she explains. "We give out vouchers for furniture too."
The volunteer powered and donation stocked store is open on Thursdays and Brito cooks a hot meal on the last Saturday of every month that attracts a crowd that overflows out the front door. Brito shies away from taking the credit, saying she cannot do it without all the people who help and donate.
"I got 2 pregnant teens that are due in January," she says to a woman who brought in a few bags of baby clothes. "They are sisters and they have nothing."
Brito would accept help from government agencies and other non-profits but she doesn't expect it.
"I'm not going to ask you where you live or how much you make. If you're hungry, I'm going to feed you," Brito says. "If you come with a problem, I try to fix it"
Success stories include helping people find jobs. A couple that was making sandwiches for bag lunches in the store on the day we visited, was homeless until New City helped them get work and an apartment. Now, they ride their bikes to New City from Lincoln to volunteer their appreciation. It's not Brito's only example of how contagious giving can be.
"I have seen a man come in here and say I need a size 40 belt and another guy took his belt off and gave it to him."
When someone offered to pay back Brito for borrowed bus fare, she offered a 'pay it forward' reply.
"I say don't pay me back. If you see someone out there that needs 3 bucks for a bus, give it to them."
Brito estimates New City has helped about 3,000 poeple so far. . .
"And we'll help as many as we can," she adds. "They are somone's mom, dad, child or friend. We all need help sometimes."
The personal information of nearly 2,000 Rhode Islanders who receive unemployment, disability or child support assistance electronically may have been exposed during a recent security breach.
Crews across Rhode Island are at the ready preparing to clear the roads ahead of Tuesday's expected snowfall.
After weeks of searching the newest member of The Rhode Show was revealed during a swanky party at Bonefish Grill in Cranston Monday night.
Dartmouth police are trying to identify a woman who died shortly after she was found lying on a golf course Monday afternoon.
Board is being restructured less than two years after it was created.